The only thing better than a high school reunion (of any sort) is almost any other social event in the world. Today I got stuck on a bridge and doing that again actually appeals to me more than spending hours around people I was the worst version of myself around (and subsequently, who were the worst versions of themselves around me).

Because here’s the thing: unless you made a conscious effort to stay in touch, everyone you grew up with is a stranger now. Sure, you went to school with them for four years, but that’s … what? An eighth of your life? At the very most? (Some of these people, out of your 25 years, you may have only known for one. Think about that.)

But alas, they always seem to stick around, hovering at the edges of your life. And ultimately, these things are never really as bad as you think they’ll be, because at home, the people you’re nervous to see are having the exact same “UGHHH DO I HAVE TO GO” attack. And yes, you do kind of have to go. Which is why I have these 10 steps to surviving a high school reunion (of any sort) like the actual grown-ass adult you are.

1. Confirm whether or not you do, in fact, actually have to go.
I mean, if you don’t, then don’t. Why are you even reading this? Why would you actually consider going? WHO ARE YOU.

2. Prepare not to be asked about yourself at all.
At least not in the “Tell me please what you’ve been doing for 10 years” variety. Here’s what’s going to happen:

“And what have YOU been up to?”

And then you tell them, in one sentence, what your job is. Why? Because nobody cares. Nobody REALLY cares because all of us just want to be perceived as “better than we were when you knew us a decade back.” And guess what! Usually, we are. Because none of us feel out of our minds anymore.

3. Don’t expect Romy and Michele
There is always one (or two or three) people you would pay literal dollars to confront à la Romy and Michele vs. Christy Masterson and the A-Group. Here’s the thing: that is absolutely not going to happen. If you walk into a public event like you own the public event and make a spectacle by saying a) that you invented Post-Its, and b) that said former hell raiser is a “nasty bitch,” you will be judged, and rightfully so because doing that is insane.

Just go in being your badass boss self and take solace in knowing you are the Heather Mooney of this event. Because I’m sorry but she was my favourite Romy and Michele character anyway, and now you get to say “fuck” a lot.

4. Position yourself near the snacks, duh.
Actually, this is just good advice for any social event. Preferably, eat all the available shrimp in less than 30 minutes, then move onto and camp by the chocolate fountain or any deserts. And, if somebody double dips anywhere and at any time, shame them sufficiently. Because George Costanza was a monster and whoever’s double-dipping is a monster, too.

5. Accept that you will always be hopeless around your high school crush. Always.
I’m sorry but it’s true: even if that person was a jagweed of the highest variety, you will still try to win them over harder than a used car salesman with a browsing dad. You will ask too many questions, listen to too many bad stories, check your makeup one million times, and you will never come off as cool as you want to be. Why? Because this person is your high school crush. This person is responsible for 99% of the 20-something neuroses you have only just gotten rid of (thanks for drudging them right back up again, JARED). Will anything happen? I have absolutely no idea because I don’t know who anybody here is. But I do know that without fail, every time, I say, “We should hang out sometime!” and as soon as the words leave my mouth I think, “No! NOOOOOO.” And then try and convince myself I was SO COOL, and that he’ll be impressed with how much shrimp I’ve been eating.

6. Ask about people’s children, I think?
On the flip side, if you’d like to have a conversation where you don’t have to worry about saying something you will regret (unless it’s “I hate your children” …do not say that, REPEAT: do not say that), ask about a parent’s kids. People love talking about their kids. And hooray for them! They had kids! Enjoy not having to explain what your job as a social media strategist entails or take a quiet, listening moment to digest those shrimp. (Is Jared watching? DID HE SEE ALL THE SHRIMP I ATE??)

7. Don’t talk about your cat and/or dog like you would a child, though, sorry. 
Trust me when I tell you that I KNOW BEST: following up a “my kid does this!” with “oh man, my cat does that too!” does not go over well. Especially with someone who doesn’t have Instagram and who lacks access to photos of how cute your beautiful lil muffin of a pet is. (WHICH IS THEIR LOSS.)

8. Dance, damn it, what’s wrong with you!
Not like, “live, laugh, love” dance (ew), but if there are 1990s/2000s songs blaring in a gymnasium and you don’t dance to them? The only person left to hate is yourself.

9. Try to re-enact the Rockafeller Skank dance from She’s All That. Just, try. 
And I mean this regardless of whether there is 1990s/2000s music playing, actually. Because if you need to rescue yourself from a dire social situation (no, you do NOT want to talk about all those times your house was egged in high school, those memories are dead and you have moved on, thank you), the only way to do it is if you ask everyone if they remember the dance from She’s All That. Their answers don’t matter. Some of those people you never liked are about to try and remember choreography from 1999.

10. Bring me with you!
I am fun, plus I will draw all attention to myself if you find yourself in a social bind. Alternately, pull a Mary Richards and bring your own Rhoda (best pal) to gain perspective on what you’re actually partaking in: a room full of adults, remembering the four years they spent together between the ages of 14 and 18. These four years were not a magical time, but they were A Time. (Oh boy were they ever A Time.) And you might as well realize the absurdity of what a high school reunion is, and more importantly, that if it doesn’t involve a sprinkler-induced fight à la Veronica Mars, it’s officially as eventful as high school itself: not very.